Funday Times - Our History

The Trade-centre in Colombo
This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history

1. It was the youngest prince Mayadunne, who was most instrumental in getting the father killed. As no Sinhala man would consent to do it, it was a difficult task to find someone suitable for the job. It is said, that the person employed for the task, was a Muslim, a man named Salaman. However, the difficult task was accomplished. It became known as 'Vijayaba-Kollaya' – which meant robbing Vijayaba of his life.

2. This event took place in 1521 A. D. After this, the Kotte kingdom was to be divided into three. King Jayaweera of Kandy, who was also known as King Vickramabahu, had to intervene in the matter.

The chieftains were also involved in this connection. The main idea behind this division, was to give some ruling power to Prince Mayadunne. It was he, who tried hard to make things happen in this manner.

3. However, there had to be some fair distribution of power. The eldest, Prince Buwanekabahu was made the ruler of Kotte and the maritime provinces. Seetawaka, Four Korales and Denavaka, were placed under the rule of Prince Mayadunne. He was named King of Seetawaka. He was crowned as Mayadunne Bandara.

4. Prince Madduma Bandara got Pasdun-Korale, Walallawita Korale and Raigama. He was crowned as Raigama Bandara. In Aluthkuru Korale and Hapitigama Korale, there arose revolts against this division.

The son-in-law of Vijayabahu, Prince Weerasuriya and his Commander of Cavalry were the rebel leaders.

5. The Commander of the Cavalry was Manamperi Aarachchi. King Mayadunne was able to suppress these uprisings easily. He killed them and confiscated all the land that belonged to the village leaders of those Korales.

Amidst all this chaos, Brito began to modernize the fort of Colombo. He gave a triangular shape to the fort and enlarged the moat around. He made it so strong that not even elephants could break it.

6. After completing this work, Brito left the country. Fernando Gomes de Lamos came in his place. He understood the anger the Sinhala people had about this fort and that it was not very profitable to maintain. He informed the King of Portugal about it.

7. He further explained to the king, that if the very difficult task of capturing the country was not in his agenda, it was advisable to have only a stores for merchandise, so that the annual tribute of cinnamon could be obtained and stored. This same idea was suggested to the King of Portugal, by the new Viceroy of India too.

8. The King of Portugal thought seriously about the matter. He appointed the famous navigator, Vasco da Gama as the Viceroy of India. He was instructed to demolish the fort in Colombo and maintain only the store-house.

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